What is influenza (also called flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Prevent seasonal flu: Get vaccinated

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. Contact us at (517) 694-1466 to schedule your appointment.

Mon-Thur: 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. 
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
Sat: 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Sun: Closed


Signs and symptoms of flu

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How flu spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.

Period of contagiousness

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

To reduce your chances of contracting flu and colds, follow these simple tips:

  • Get a flu shot every year
  • Wash your hands often
  • Limit exposure to infected people
  • Keep stress in check
  • Eat right, and drink plenty of fluids
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stop smoking, and avoid secondhand smoke